Wednesday, July 30

A Tale of Seven (or so) Shoes

Maybe more or perhaps less but probably more.

Many would say that I'm "picky" about things.  I would call it "painstakingly finicky."   I like things the way that I like them.  Things I don't like are quick to be tossed aside.  Things that I do like are clung to like a cloth mother.

When I find something that works for me, I like to stay with it.  Unfortunately, things change and disappear over time.  One of the most important pieces of gear to an off-road bike cycle racing racer type is shoes.  Shoes can make or break you.  The sad part of this is once I find a pair I like, by the time I wear them out, the manufacturer will have "updated" that particular model or stopped making them altogether.

Assembled here, the shoes that are still serviceable from the past few years... spaces left to honor shoes that were discarded or didn't make the cut.

Not shown are all the Sidis that just won't die but are barely functional as a decent riding shoe for one reason or another.

Shoes in the sense that they can be worn to cover one's feet... and little else.

I will not bore you with the history of my shoes.  It would take too long, and I doubt it would make good reading.  I can say that I'm tired of looking for the Mr Right of shoes.  They all suck for one reason or another.  Nothing has made me happy.  I was close with the original Mavic Razor, a great racing shoe at a enthusiast friendly price.

But they were fragile.  One season of real use maximum... I'm eeking out what I can from the pair I have left.  Local riding only, no hike-a-bike whatsoever.

The Razor got "updated."  Much needed toe protection added (where the previous version fell apart) but the toe box area was increased to a more "enthusiast hobbit" width.  I bought one pair, and because I made the mistake of taking (and finally destroying) an original pair of Razors on a hike-a-bike intense trip out west, I was forced to buy a second pair (black, yuck).

Wait. I'm starting the History of My Shoes: Volume One

I said I wouldn't do that.

Many of my shoes see their last serviceable days at work.  There is no ideal shoe for work, and if someone made it, they would just change the design and ruin it in a few years anyways.  Former mountain bike shoes are the new work shoes.

My Sidi Spiders were on their last legs.  Replacement soles are getting hard to come by and the new 2014 design does not have the metatarsus grippy thing (which isn't included in the SRS replacement sole kit, WTF?).  I thought maybe it was pointless, but after trying a pair of Sidis with nothing but carbon at the mid-foot point?  Stupid.  Dangerous.  Meh.

So I broke down and went back to Mavic.  The only way to get something that fits my narrow feet?

The Mavic Fury.

Same basic tread as my old Razors, carbon sole, toe guard, sweet clicky buckle.  I got them a week ago... before I read this article about wearing yellow shoes by Web Monkey (AKA Vernon Felton).

"Yellow shoes are a statement of intent. The mountain biking equivalent of Mike Tyson getting that Maori facial tattoo or the U.S. lobbing Neil Armstrong onto the moon. We wear the yellow shoes—we are not to be fucked with."

I didn't want yellow, but I don't do black... unless I have no choice.  They fit like a glove, they're stiff, stiff, stiff, and I know that as long as I don't go to the Breck Epic, they'll probably last me three "seasons" or so.

And as former Dick Handler, Eric Smith has proven, they look good with pajama tops.

Two rides and I think they're going to work out okay... just okay enough to get my


I wanted white shoes. I got yellow, and I paid the same amount of money for them that would fetch me one of these:

I could design the perfect shoe.  Something for the single speed racer boy, and not those god awful Pearl Izumi things.  PI burned me twice with their shitty walking friendly SPD shoes.  Fool me once..

Skip ahead, shame on me.

Yeah, shoe designers.  Ask me the next time you want to make the perfect shoe.  It's in my head, and I'll share all my knowledge for a large bag of Peanut M&M's.


Steven said...

Tried the giros? My road ones run quite narrow. Bontrager rxl mtb shoes are narrow too. Can't break down and fork out the dough for the mavics.

dicky said...

After seeing what the Breck Epic did to Peter's Giros (and a few other's had the same experience), I'll pass.

At least for now.

Joe Dirt said...

Whoa now, the PI's may be better than you allude depending on the terrain you typically ride. I like my PI's because they are good for the extensive rocky HAB sessions in AZ. They are comfy and breathable although the soles are not as durable as I would like. Maybe there's a diff between a race shoe and a MTB shoe?

dicky said...

I've just had two PI failures outta two pairs I've owned. The Alp series... SPD shoes made to walk about comfortably.

Cracked soles on both pair in a short amount of time.

My distrust has been earned.

Anonymous said...

A large bag of peanut M&Ms...